In the middle of a hectic, stressful morning that had barely begun, I dropped my Bible and my grandpa’s bookmark fluttered to the ground face up with his name boldly printed across the front. I hadn’t seen it in awhile…it’s like he was there to say once again “Hang in there, kid”…and just like that, everything was alright.
Twelve years ago, he passed away suddenly. It was just ten days before my wedding. We were so close. Memories upon memories. He taught me so much. He would read three major newspapers each morning before going off to work. When I was really young and learning all the words in the world, he would pass each section of the newspaper to me and tell me to circle all the words I didn’t know. Next I was to look them all up in the dictionary. I delighted in that task. He did so much for me, he made so many things possible.
Most of all, he taught me how to be tolerant, compassionate, and kind. To tolerate noisy people and mean customers and broken-down cars. Taking it one step further, he made me realize that noisy people and mean customers and broken-down cars all have a story that some choose to tell loudly and some choose to grumpily not tell. And not only should I give them grace and be understanding, but that I should extend a hand or a smile to show them kindness even if they didn’t show it to me or give it back in turn. Also, that I may be the one who will need to be given grace when I am grumpy, too.
It took me a long time to be able to say his name or talk about him without crying. He was well loved. I am thankful that he believed in Jesus, that we had a relationship with Christ in common. He had a lot of hardships, but he was never without a smile or a funny voice for us grandkids. I got to spend my youth with him and most of my 20s. But nobody told me how cool my 30’s (and now my 40’s) were going to be. I would’ve liked to share those with him, too.
For now, I look forward to someday reuniting with him and all the others I have loved with all my heart. Family members and friends gone so soon. I am thankful for the comfort of God’s love. That he numbs our pain when we first lose someone, and then we intensely feel the loss that ebbs and flows for awhile…and then finally that point we reach when we can smile when we talk about them and chuckle when their bookmarks fall out of our bibles on a hairy day…when our heart glows with warm memories and we know that all is well.
Thank you, Lord, for my Papa.
“Jesus said, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.'”
– Matthew 5:4